Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tools of the trade!

Hi guys,

I was just actually thinking what to post and something came across my mind and I thought hey, this will make a nice post as I wonder how many people really know.

I hope this doesn't seem trivial but how many of you know the tools of the trade: what tools do you expect to see the carpenter you just contracted to build the new bookcase for your study have on him? Would you know your chisel from a large flat-head screw-driver?? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming to be an expert in this particular area but that's why I write these posts so we can all learn but I have fair idea of the tools I expect to see on a job from my contractor.

For example I remember a renovation I was doing in Lagos , Nigeria last year and part of the design was for them to put up a wall partition and they started building the frame but when I looked on closer inspection, low and behold, there was no spirit-level anywhere to be found....I was baffled as how could they convince me that the wall they were building was straight without it. (Needless to say work was stopped immediately until they got one.)

Basic tools: 

Hammer - fun to bash away at things with (lol)
Tape measurer - without a way to measure on the project they may as well not even start in the first place
Spirit level - Who wants crocked walls or cabinets. I see few of these on job sites in West Africa
Utility knife - versitile from cutting string to trimming of wood
Marking tools - special pencil and not just any pen as it will leave horrible marks
Saw - carpenter without this....enough said lol
Wrench - adjusts to any size

I know this seems basic (and I actually hope for most of you it is), but again I felt the need to point this out as I've noticed most contractors here do not have the right tools so how can they possibly do the job correctly? So next time you hire a contractor for a project (big or small) make sure you take a second and look at his tools!

As always I've had a blast writing this and please leave comments as it's always encouraging to get feedback and help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. If you're new I hope you will join and become a member. 


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ugly Tile Syndrome or UTS

There's no need to feel ashamed, UTS can happen to anyone but I feel the need to address this as I see it as a rampant problem here in West Africa. UTS is found in millions of homes and it makes me want to scream...lol!

Talking about this actually reminds me of a house someone I knew was renovating and upon getting to the kitchen I literally wanted to scream. This guy had picked the UGLIEST tiles I have seen in a long while. They were big yellow tiles with ghastly patterns on them and the biggest joke is that he tiled the walls from floor to ceiling on all sides...shock horror! Why Why Why...is all that ran through my mind and I tried to advice him otherwise but he insisted to me that that is the trend here, (Nigeria) lol. Sadly folks, the disaster didn't end there as he picked equally ugly tiles for the bathrooms or wet rooms as they were. Yuck!

Seriously though, there is a fine line between using a past decade to influence you or to give you inspiration lead by the current day trends, as opposed to being so literal and actually using tiles that I'm sure even in the decade they were designed/made they were rejected lol.

Here are a few examples...  


disco time, lol   www.iheartmyroom.com

floor tiles   http://myhgtvremodels.com

Ok yeah true, these maybe slight extremes of ugly tiles but I wonder why people feel the need to make them so busy in the first place.

I'm sure you're all getting the idea by now of the kind of tiles not to chose, so let me show you the kind of tiles that I think should be used and can I quickly interject here that please, we should stop feeling that we have to tile walls from floor to ceiling - pick sections to tile but not the full wall unless it's a feature wall i.e one wall. This way, if you ever get tired of your tiles you just change that section where the tiles are - less damage to your walls.

I love how this feels and looks like a room and not just a place where you bath
The tiles are neutral and the colour is used in the choice of paint on the wall which is easier to change over time

Love the way the tiles are used as a border here which makes it look elegant
here the wall tiles is used as a splash back so it stops just under the extractor

Can I suggest that when picking tiles, you go for the most neutral colour or the least 'fussy' pattern you can and contrary to belief, that will not make your space look boring as what you do is use other things in the room to accentuate it through paint colours or accessories. The reason I suggest this is that neutral colours can be paired with much stronger colours so in a year or two, you can change the painted walls and the space will look different again.

Neutral tile options
I hope we have all been delivered from UTS!!
Not to sound big headed but I'm sure you enjoyed this post lol, so please share on on Facebook and Twitter. I also look forward to your comments so get writing. Remember you can call upon my services on any project you may have.